Adults get up and go to work; but children get up and play. Play is a child’s work. Children learn when they play. We put ourselves at a disadvantage as teachers when we don’t have play time. Children open up to communicate when they play. As adults we may seat down with friends and some coffee and talk for hours. It is a very rare to see a child do that. We might be tempted to think that play time is foolish and a waste of time. Is a preacher foolish and wasting time as he relates a funny story or joke, no he/she is connecting to the congregation. Children are connecting when they play. If we leave them to play with only the other children then they connect with the other children and not the teachers. Be wise and play with the children. Not that you have to become childish, but you should come into their world and guide them in their play. This is much more than imposing rules and enforcing them. Let’s play with blocks and build something. Your lesson might be on Noah building a boat. Give the class different ideas on what to build. You can ask if they never built anything at home or school. Do they know anyone who builds? Talk about Bob the builder. Talk about how Noah didn’t get a choice on what to build. If sharing and working together come up between the children talk about how Noah had to deal with the same things as he built the boat. Has you help them to play and guide the conversation watch for doors of opportunity. They might be a story about what happen that week, thoughts of I can’t do it, children helping other children, or an act you can praise them for. I think you will be surprised by what you learn about your class and from your class. Toys that lend themselves to imagination will work best. Play dough, cars, dolls, stuffed animals, dress up, chalk board, puppets, sand box, cooking/dishing, and play store are some good examples. Toys that are purely exercise may not be the best. I like to look at my lesson for ideas on what toys to use. Go to a toy store or search on line and see what they have, you are looking more for ideas than to make a purchase. You might already have what you need but just didn’t think of it. The truth is during a 90 minute service kids are going to play where it is in your lesson plan or not so why not take advantage of it.